Happiness is…Grooving to the Beat ala Michael Jackson

July 31, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

You may not have noticed, but we here at the Low Density Lifestyle website have restrained from mentioning Michael Jackson’s name since his untimely death.

We didn’t want to be seen as capitalizing on the sensational nature of the news, which is what every media outlet has done around the world.

But our crack research staff has informed us that we are the only website in the world that has yet to mention his name, and so, because we are feeling the pressure, this article does indeed mention his name.

But we are referencing Michael Jackson’s name only within the context of the Happiness series, and especially the Happiness is… theme that I’ve been writing about this week.

Michael Jackson’s music at the peak of his career – in the 1980’s – was infectious, riveting and joyous, and it could get you moving in no time, even if you were someone allergic to movement and dancing.

mj-billie-jean

And once you felt the infectious beat, you couldn’t help but feel happy.

And so, to finish the week’s theme of Happiness is… you’ll get to watch some videos that are fun, unique and a salute to Michael Jackson.

The above video is a young Steve Martin dancing to Billie Jean. This video comes from a TV show that Steve Martin was part of.

Steve Martin has been creating happiness for so many people for so long, that it seems a good combination: Michael Jackson’s song and Steve Martin dancing.

And the below video is pretty wild: it’s inmates in a prison in the Philippines dancing to Thriller. I’ll bet they were pretty happy to be able to pull off such a feat.

And there’s one bonus video, thrown in for good measure. Below the prisoners singing Thriller is one of my favorites, Weird Al Yankovic, performing Eat It, his gentle spoof of Michael Jackson’s hit, Beat It.

So get into it, let the beat move you, and see if you agree that Happiness is…Grooving to the Beat ala Michael Jackson.

One last note: if you read our Summer Hours, you’ll know that for the summer we are publishing articles one less day a week, 4 days instead of our usual 5 days. So we’ll see you again with the next article on Tuesday.

Happiness is…Having a Happy and Joyous Wedding Celebration

July 30, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness, Love, Relationships

In the last couple of days in this Happiness series, I’ve been regaling you with tales of Happiness is…

You’ve learned during these few days that Happiness is…Letting the Sun Shine In; Happiness is…Being Happy Like a Baby; and Happiness is…Being Happy Like a Happy Pet.

Today I will turn my attention to that most complex realm, one that is chock full of many challenges – the realm of relationships.

Happiness is…when you are in a loving relationship with a partner, a relationship that fills you with joy all the way down deep into your soul.

Now imagine if a relationship like this decides to make the ultimate commitment – marriage – and decides to turn the wedding day into a fabulous demonstration of happiness and joy.

planet_happy

That my friends is what the above video is all about, which is why I call this article, Happiness is…Having a Happy and Joyous Wedding.

Set in the church they will get married in, this couple began their ceremony with one of the most happiest and joyous starts to a wedding.

I’ll bet this couple is going to have a long and very happy marriage and life together, because they are having so much fun and exuding so much good spirit at their ceremony.

So watch the video and see if you agree with me that happiness can indeed be a happy and joyous wedding.

The bottom line, as I’ve been saying all along during this series on Happiness, is to let your innate happiness and joy, which is something we all have an infinite supply of, find its way to the top, and then let it shine through.

And when you do so, you too will be living a Low Density Lifestyle.

Happiness is…Being Happy Like a Happy Pet

July 29, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

glumbert – Jessica the Pet Hippo

I continue with the Happiness is… theme as part of the Happiness series.

Yesterday you read about Happiness is…Being Happy Like a Baby. Today you will learn the joys of being a happy animal/pet, and what we can learn from our fine furry friends.

Animals, like babies, enjoy the simple things in life, and can find joy in these things.

happy-doghappy-cat

Which is why pet owners become so close and attached to their pet – the pets are such beacons of happiness and joy, and for the pet owner, the happiness and joy that the pet expresses rubs off on the owner.

So watch the video above, and see Jessica, the wild hippo who has become a household pet, and is incredibly happy living that existence. She is one very happy – and unique – hippo.

And in the videos below, you’ll see a number of happy animals.
There’s the dog in the sliding pool; the dancing chicken; the dancing chipmunk; and the rat and cat who are very happy together in each others company.

Happiness is…Being Happy Like a Baby

July 28, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

I’ve been writing the series on Happiness for a few weeks now, and I will continue all this week with articles titled Happiness is…

For example, the last article started this theme, and was called Happiness is…Letting the Sun Shine In. In the article was a video of a beautifully done, updated version of the classic song Let the Sunshine In from the musical Hair.

Today’s article, Happiness is…Being Happy Like a Baby, is guaranteed to make you smile – and make you feel happy. It’s a bunch of babies having a joyful time. Hopefully it will remind you to channel your own inner joy.

happy-babybabyface

Because when you do so, you’re more capable of living a Low Density Lifestyle.

As a bonus, below is a video that appeared on the Low Density Lifestyle website not too long ago, of joyfully laughing babies. Even if you saw it before, it’ll get you feeling happy and glad all over.

Babies are quite in touch with their inner happiness and joy, but they don’t have a monopoly on this.  No matter how far removed you are from babyhood, you have it in you at all times, in all places.

And don’t forget that. Ever.

Laughing Babies

Happiness is…Letting the Sun Shine In

July 24, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

Happiness:

Whenever you feel blue, whenever you’re down, whenever you’re unhappy, there’s a way to turn that into happiness again and again and again.

You’ve got to Let the Sunshine In.

Watch the above video and sing along and see if doesn’t lift your spirits. If it doesn’t, watch it again, and make sure you Let the Sunshine In.

And you know where that song comes from, right?

From the 1968 classical musical, Hair.

hairposter1

One last note: if you read our Summer Hours, you’ll know that for the summer we are publishing articles one less day a week, 4 days instead of our usual 5 days. So we’ll see you again with the next article on Tuesday.

Unhappy at Work? Top 10 Excuses People Make for Staying at their Job

July 23, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

ihatemyjobFor the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about Happiness, and for the last few days I’ve been talking about Happiness and Work.

I’ve said that one of the keys to happiness is working in a job you like, or better yet, having an occupation that is an expression of who you are.

But many folks aren’t sure what it is that makes them happy, and are stuck at jobs they don’t like.

When you’re at a job that is making you unhappy, many people internalize that they should quit, but they don’t do it.

And why is that?

If happiness is so crucial to living a Low Density Lifestyle, and being happy at the job you have is an integral part of happiness, then why don’t you quit if your job is making you unhappy?pennyforyourthought

Even if you long desperately to quit, to get away from your horrible workplace, annoying co-workers or abusive managers, you may hesitate to actually do anything about it, because right on the heels of that impulse come a lot of other thoughts that hold you back from quitting.

And a lot of the thoughts are fear based.

Each of these excuses may sound to you like the voice of sanity, offering perfectly good reasons why it is in fact better to stay and endure that bad job just a little longer.

Trapped in a bad job

Trapped in a bad job

But those excuses keep you trapped in a job that is slowly but surely wearing you down and cementing your existence in a High Density Lifestyle.

And so, here are 10 of the most common excuses for staying in a bad job.

1. Things might get better.
That jerk manager might be promoted out of there. That annoying co-worker could quit.That mound of overwork could suddenly disappear.

On the other hand, things might also get worse. Or they might not change at all. If you’ve already done your best to improve your job situations and nothing has happened, just waiting around for things to improve by themselves make little sense.

2. My boss is such a jerk but if I quit now, he wins.
Who cares. This is not about winning or losing, this is your life. Move on, already.

3. I’m not a quitter.santa
Guess what these somewhat successful people have in common: Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Tiger Woods, Reese Witherspoon, John McEnroe and John Steinbeck?

They all dropped out of Stanford.

The old saying that “Winners never quit and quitters never win” is just plain wrong and leaving a bad job is just common sense.

4. I’ll never get another job.
Well not if you stay in your current job while it slowly grinds you down, you won’t. Move on now while you still have some self-confidence, motivation and energy left.

i-hate-my-job-25. If I quit I’ll lose my salary, status, company car, the recognition of my peers, etc.
Yes, quitting a job carries a price and that makes it scary. We all know this intimately.

But few of us ask this question: What is the price of staying in a job that makes you unhappy?

That price can be very high. It can not only ruin your work life but also your marriage, your family life, your health, your self-esteem and your sanity. Not all at once, but a little bit every day.

6. Everywhere else is just as bad.
That’s just nonsense. There are plenty of great workplaces in every industry.

7. I’ve invested so much in this job already.

The boss from hell

The boss from hell

You may have sacrificed a lot of time, energy and dignity already in attempts to make things better. This will make it more difficult for you to call it quits.

This is similar to how the Nigerian email scammers sucker people in. At first it’s a small investment, but then the amounts grow and grow. At each step the victim is reluctant to stop because that would mean losing all the money they’ve spent so far.

Quit anyway. Staying on is just throwing good time after bad.

8. I’ll lose my health insurance.
Ok, so start looking for another job with similar health benefits.

Also, ask yourself: What good is job related health insurance if your job is actually making your sick – which bad jobs can absolutely do.

9. My job pays very well.
Here’s the plain truth and the stark reality: it doesn’t matter how well your job pays – if it makes you unhappy it’s not worth it.

And if you make a lot of money now, use that financial security to quit and find a job that’ll make you happy.

i-hate-my-job10. Quitting will look bad on my CV.
Whereas staying for years in a job that grinds you down and goes nowhere will look excellent.

Most people would be much happier if they quit bad jobs sooner, and for those who have done it they usually say that they wish they had done it much, much sooner.

Work and Feeding the Soul as a Path to Happiness: What Poets Tell Us

July 22, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

happiness_is_an_inside_job_bumper_sticker-p128248277244405980tmn6_2101In yesterday’s article I discussed Happiness and Your Job.

In that article was an excellent quote from Academy Award winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch, who discussed happiness in regards to work.

Murch said how the key to finding happiness in the work you do is to remember the thing that gave you the most happiness when you were between ages 9 and 11, and to do something that is a reflection of that thing.

When we were younger, our innate happiness and joy easily rose to the surface, and we effortlessly did those things that brought us joy. But over the years, as time goes by, we become more cultured and self-conscious and we get away from that.

Unhappy at work

Unhappy at work

We then forget that our soul’s yearning for deep happiness is rooted in doing things that feed and nourish the soul.

In other words, we are happiest when we do work that is an expression of who we truly are.

To understand who we truly are requires reaching in and touching the poetic nature of the soul.

Poets have the ability to write about the soul’s yearnings in a lyrical way that can reach in and resonate with the soul’s poetic desires.

What can we learn from poets about this? Let’s take a look:

Dante:
In the middle of the road of my life
I awoke in a dark wood
Where the true way was wholly lost.

Pablo Neruda:
I didn’t know what to say, my mouth
could not speak,
my eyes could not see
and something ignited in my soul,
fever or unremembered wings
and I went my own way,
deciphering that burning fire
and I wrote the first bare line,
bare, without substance, pure
foolishness,
pure wisdom
of one who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened and open.

whyte017_002

David Whyte

David Whyte:
the blades flash
lifting veils of spray as the bow rears
terrified then falls

with five miles to go
of open ocean
the eyes pierce the horizon

the kayak pulls round
like a pony held by unseen reins
shying out of the ocean

and the spark behind fear
recognized as life
leaps into flame

*
Always this energy smoulders inside
when it remains unlit
the body fills with dense smoke.

William Blake:
I went to the Garden of Love
And saw what I never had seen:
A chapel was built in the midst,
where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turned to this Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be,
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds
and binding with briars my joys and desires.

William Blake:
So he took his wings and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red;
I dried my tears and armed my fears
With ten thousand shields and spears.

Soon my angel came again;
I was arm’d, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled
And grey hairs were on my head.

Antonio Machado:
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt–marvelous error!–
that there was a fiery sun here in my heart
It was fiery because it gave warmth
as if from a hearth
and it was sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Rainer Maria Rilke:
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.

T. S. Eliot:
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope,
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing: wait
without
love
for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet
faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the
waiting.

derekwalcott

Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott:
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Antonio Machado:
Last night, as I was sleeping
I dreamt–marvelous error!–
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Happiness and Your Job

July 21, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

happyysun_full1

In the last article on this series on Happiness, you learned about a happy workplace where people like to sing.

But some of you may not have that type of workplace/job. In fact you may have a job that leaves you feeling rather unhappy.

Unless you have won the lottery, were born wealthy, are independently wealthy, or have a means of income that allows you to live a life of luxury, you have to work.

And that means having a job.

Now some have their own business, but even then it’s a job.

And a job is something that you have for your entire life. It will probably be a few jobs over your life, and it may even be your own business for all or some of your working life.happy-job1

So since a job is something that you will spend a gazillion hours of your life at, and it is also something that is central to your life – after all, a job = money – doesn’t it make sense that your job should bring you happiness?

After all, if your job doesn’t bring you happiness, or at least a modicum of happiness, then what good is it? Life is too short to spend most of your waking hours at something that is drudgery and that you have a sense of dread about.

Doesn’t it make sense to do something you really enjoy? That’s a sure recipe for happiness and living a Low Density Lifestyle.

That being said, I’d like you to heed the words of Walter Murch, an Academy Award-winning film editor and sound designer.

In Murch’s book, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, he discusses how to choose the work that makes you happiest.

Here’s what he had to say:

WalterMurch

“As I’ve gone through life, I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old…

“At that age, you know enough of the world to have opinions about things, but you’re not old enough yet to be overly influenced by the crowd or by what other people are doing or what you think you ‘should’ be doing.

“If what you do later on ties into that reservoir in some way, then you are nurturing some essential part of yourself. It’s certainly been true in my case. I’m doing now, at fifty-eight, almost exactly what most excited me when I was eleven.

“But I went through a whole late-adolescent phase when I thought: Splicing sounds together can’t be a real occupation, maybe I should be a geologist or teach art history.”

What great advice from someone who speaks from experience.

My advice to you is to take it to heart.

Now That’s One Happy Workplace!

July 17, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

In this series on Happiness, in which I’ve talked about 2 of the happiest countries on earth – Bhutan and Iceland – and gave you 7 ways to cultivate your innate happiness, one thing I haven’t touched on yet is the place where most people spend many hours a day.

It’s called The Job.

If you’re like most people, you work at a J-O-B, and it’s not always a happy place.

happinesslogo-website-events-page

There’s people grumbling, bitching, moaning, groaning and just plain being snippy.

Of course, there’s also the good days when people are feeling good and having a good time.

But imagine if your workplace was such a happy environment that people occasionally broke out in song!

That’s what happening in the above video. Watch it and enjoy the happy workplace having fun and enjoying themselves.

The workplace is a company called Connected Ventures, and the song is Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger.

This might not be your song of choice. If it’s not, decide what song you will bring into the workplace and then start getting everyone to join in and sing.

That’s right – make your workplace a happy one.

And if you decide to video it, send me the video and I’ll be glad to post it up here on the Low Density Lifestyle site.

Because you then will be working in a Low Density Lifestyle environment and it’ll be worth sharing to everyone.

One last note: if you read our Summer Hours, you’ll know that for the summer we are publishing articles one less day a week, 4 days instead of our usual 5 days. So we’ll see you again with the next article on Tuesday.

7 Ways to Be Happier

July 16, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Happiness

happiness-1I’ve been writing about happiness for the last 2 weeks. The happier you are, the more of a Low Density Lifestyle will you live, so it’s important to look at happiness and understand it better.

By dong this, we can all get to know better what it takes to be happier.

Actually, deep down in all of us lies a deep reservoir of happiness. It’s just that it gets buried so far down, and under so much internal stuff, that we lose sight of it.

One of the things that we need to know is that happiness shouldn’t depend on someone else – it should come from within, from that deep reservoir. It just has to be encouraged to express itself effortlessly.

It’s a matter of lightening the load, of feeling less dense and heavy, and of living a Low Density Lifestyle.

If you read yesterday’s article and saw the video about the people of Iceland, you will know that they know how to take unhappy situations and failure and turn it into happiness.happiness

To do so, it’s a matter of cultivating your own ability to look at the situation and see it with a perspective that says, “Hey it’s only castles burning.”

So, in that spirit, I offer you 7 tips on how to feed and cultivate your innate happiness, so that it can blossom and bloom and come to the surface.

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. At times of hardship, such as loss or illness, we can easily lose our humor, and even more easily get very involved with the negative aspects of what is happening. We become the center of our universe. Remembering not to take ourselves too seriously brings a lightness and ease to the weight of circumstance around us. Remember–angels can fly because they take themselves lightly!

2. Don’t identify with suffering, loss, or illness, as being who you are.
Many people identify themselves as a cancer survivor / widow / recovering addict, or whatever it may be, but do not ask themselves who they are without that label or identity. When we do not identify with the negative label, then the positive sense of who we are has a chance to emerge and shine.

taste_of_happiness_by_uploathe3. It’s OK to be you, just as you are, warts and all. We may think we are imperfect, a mess, falling apart, hopeless, or unable to cope. But true perfection is really just accepting our imperfections. It is honoring ourselves, complete with all the things we like and the things we don’t like. In this way we are not struggling with or rejecting any part of ourselves. Each one of us is unique, a one-time offer, but we cannot know it if we are facing away from ourselves.

4. Make friends with yourself. Our relationship with ourselves is the only one we will have for the whole of our lives, and we can be the greatest friend to ourselves. So it is very important not to put ourselves down or beat ourselves up.

5. Feel everything, whatever it may be.
When we are suffering, our feelings get huge and can be overwhelming. It is easy to want to deny or repress them. But if we can really honor whatever we are feeling, then it will bring us closer to the happiness beneath the suffering or grief. Acknowledging our real feelings is the greatest gift.

6. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Treasure yourself. These are big steps, but each one liberates the heart and sets us free. We need to forgive ourselves for feeling angry, for getting upset, for all things we think we have done wrong. They are in the past and we are not who we were then. We can then begin to embrace and love ourselves, for we are so worthy of that love. And then we can take any resistance or fear by the hand, invite it in, and open our heart to the universe.happy-elf

7. Meditate. There is an overwhelming amount of research showing how meditation changes the circuits in the part of the brain associated with contentment and happiness and stimulates the ‘feel-good’ factor. Meditating on love and kindness makes us much, much happier! And the only way to know this is to try it!!

Ok? If you put this into action, you can cultivate your own innate happiness and feel lighter of body, mind and spirit.

You then won’t have to move to Bhutan and Iceland – the 2 happiest countries on earth – to feel more happier (unless of course you really like those 2 countries).

Instead you can just be where you are, at any time, at any place, and just be happy.

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